The first major group show of American artists in Cuba opened on Saturday, March 28, 2009. It’s called “Chelsea visits Havana.” No, not that Chelsea. Even though Ms. Clinton’s father was sympathetic to the frequent visits to Cuba by American art dealers, this show got its name from the Manhattan district where the 30 artists in the exhibit usually hang their hats and their work. (Perhaps ironically, the last big exhibit by American artists in Cuba was in 1986, during the Reagan Administration.)
A sculpture by Padraig Tarrant called “Castrobama” shows facing cutout profiles of President Barack Obama and former Cuban dictator Premier Fidel Castro. Predictably there is also a depiction of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevera, as well as “New Mount Rushmore,” a sculpture of the four Presidents of the original Mount Rushmore monument (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln) with the addition of — surprise — President Obama, assembled out of New York City Yellow Pages.
This is the first exhibition we made after Obama rose to power. This is a kind of lighthouse of the next process of the culture and the politics between Cuba and the United States,” said Aberlado Mana, curator of contemporary art at the Fine Arts Museum in Havana.
Aren’t you overjoyed?